Tag Archives: United States

Rest of the World

Photo: Alf Johansson via Gruppo F

Photo: Alf Johansson via Gruppo F

In many ways the English speaking world seems overrepresented in today’s media. I am reading more about the great American photographers of the 20th century than others, just because I am frequenting a lot of English-speaking web sites. A lot of news are also based on English-speaking research, who often – quite obviously – have not bothered to conduct work in non-English speaking areas of the world (which is why you see a lot of references to US or UK in English language news). This acts as a filter omitting a lot of good material that’s out there. Since the mainstream on the net is in English, I think a lot of quality material is not readily picked up. Just my feeling anyway. This is more of a message to self: if you are multilingual, don’t forget to balance with trying to look at the other material as well. If you are not, just bear in mind that the material you have access to is just a subset of the whole, although you are often led to believe that it is not.

Fortia SP, Konica Pan, MS Mag 0.85W

Fortia SP ultra-strong colour reversal film has always been advertised as a limited edition film and stocks have finally run out. We hope you managed to try one of those out. Let’s see if there will be another re-run or even a permanent film.

To the disappointment of many, Konica-Minolta has recently withdrawn from the photography business. This means that the remaining film products will also disappear. Konica Pan in 120 format is already gone and the 35mm films will also go the same way very soon.

Saving the good news for last, we are pleased to announce that after obtaining a patent specialist’s opinion, the MS Optical 0.85W magnifier (“minifier”) for Leica M viewfinders does not infringe the existing Leica patents and can thus be offered for sale worldwide. The 1.15 and 1.35 magnifiers remain limited to all countries except Germany and the United States.

No preconceptions

The title of this post is a quasi-quote from the artist and legendary street photographer Garry Winogrand. It has become my main mantra of late, not only about photographic matters, but about life in general. It is a very difficult objective to keep an open mind, especially since I think that the interpretation of experiences and resulting conceptions are very closely bound to human nature, a natural way to make us feel emotionally safer. Brands and advertising, for example, exploit this longing for familiarity and make us reach out for packaging and colours we have seen before.

In itself, there is nothing wrong with this. However, there are certain times, if not most of the time, where we should be self-aware of our preconceptions, if only to prevent us to become easy prey for stereotypes and prejudices, positive and negative. Maybe we have heard something similar several times from from different sources. Or we have heard fractions of facts and our creative mind tries filling in the gaps. The purpose of this is to help making sense of the world in one way or the other, if only temporary. Would we feel the full effect of knowing that we know nothing, we would probably go crazy.

It is in this period of thought, where an email from a friend reaches me, and I am surprised that it discusses a very similar thought that I have been having and have recently articulated in an article for the German-Japanese Society of my hometown. Many people think of Japan by imagining sushi, temples, geishas and other “typical” things. While of course these things exist here, they by no means represent Japanese culture. In fact, I think they are rather offensive as they simplify and distort reality.

In my photos I am trying to show aspects of daily Japanese life, any and all aspects I personally come across. And even though I am not trying to exclude sushi, temples and geishas, unlike others I am also not looking for them. I capture what presents itself to me, and those obvious Japanese things are just several of many, many other things that make up the puzzle of this country. I can’t say I have succeeded, but just like they say in British news when they don’t know for sure: “The Police are keeping an open mind.”

I am quoting – with permission from the author – an article written for Tibetan Review:

Shattering the Shangri-La Stereotype: Tibetans re-branded
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